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10x42SV 10x50SV: yet another thread on these... (1 Viewer)

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Your link there (not just its text label) got truncated with "..." and is unusable; the correct link is here.

What's interesting about that graph is that it does not show a "decline in efficiency" with increasing magnification. To the contrary, it shows increasing efficiency, even handheld, up to around 15x where it starts to level off. Only the rate of increase is declining. That seems to agree well with my own experience.
That is what I observe also. So much for the "There are plenty of studies proving conclusively that almost no observers get any more detail with binoculars over about ~10x magnification. You need a tripod or at least a monopod to get any real benefit from magnfications above ~10x." theory. The graph makes me realize how much more efficient the Fujinon 12x28 and 16x28 Techno-Stabi stabilized binoculars are than a normal 12x or 16x binocular handheld. The efficiency goes up from 6 to 10 for handheld to supported. Almost doubles.
 

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John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Hi Tenex (post #20),

Thanks for correcting the bad link that I posted

And clearly I worded my opening paragraphs poorly
The first should have read: ‘ . . . the graph . . . shows a progressive loss of relative efficiency in increased resolution as magnification increases’
And likewise the second: '. . . a decline in relative efficiency . . .'

To better illustrate the point, as can be seen in Figure 1 there are 7 plot points used to define the curve
And the data corresponds with the 1st and 3rd columns in Table 1 (M/ actual magnification and Hand-Held Efficiency) in the text, see attached

I’ve also attached a table of the 1st and 3rd columns, showing Hand-Held Efficiency as a percentage
And while as the actual magnification increases:
- so does the effective resolution (hand-held magnification), as one would expect
- the relative effective resolution (hand-held magnification as a percentage of actual magnification) declines at a rapidly increasing rate


John
 

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chill6x6

Well-known member
Following on from a thread I started recently about 10x Swarovski glass, I wouldn't need to post this if I could try out an EL10x50 SV in the local shop. They now have all the 42 models in stock, so can try out an EL10x42 SV.

I saw an old post by Gijs van Ginkel praising the 50, and have just been reading Roger Vine's very readable reviews of the 42 and then the 50.

42 and 50SVs have been discussed on the forum probably many times before but maybe some of you who have extensively tried all the sizes and models wouldn't mind having a look at this....

Roger looks to have reviewed the 42 a few years back, before the Field Pro version, but am I right the differences don't affect optics or coatings or handling at all? By comparison his review of 50 was possibly more recent (early 2016). I say this because in the 42 review he said if he could only have one pair of binoculars it would probably be the 42; in the 50 review he said something like he would now go for the 50. Also in the 42 review, having said how great it was, he added a teaser that the 50 might be even better.

Now, as said, if I could try both side by side I could arrive at a preference quite easily because handling matters a lot to me -- if I can't hold the thing steady what use are slightly superior optics, etc...

So, here are the questions:
1. As the 50 is very similar in size to the 42 and about (100g) heavier, will it feel a lot lighter and easier to hold steady than my 8x56FL? I get the impression that 56 is where extra weight really comes into play.
2. As the 50 is a 10 power whilst the 56 is an 8 power, are they likely to feel similarly awkward in use i.e. shake will cancel out the slightly lighter weight?
3. Glare and ghosting: negligible in both 42 and 50 or better in 42?
4. Colour rendition: same as in EL8x32 SV i.e. bluish compared to Leica reddish and Zeiss greenish? (I know fans of each will call their marque 'neutral'!)
5. The more comparison you can give between 42 and 50 SV variants the better but hand-holding differences are probably the deal breaker, aside from money.
6. Is the 8.5x42 SV in fact any easier to hold than the 10? I ask this as I'm mainly a 7x user and have got very used to that as an all-round solution, but as mentioned in the other thread I am looking for a 10 as well, once I can find the near-perfect solution.

I should mention I am also weighing up (literally also!) N, L and Z options but as I have them in 7/8x it seemed that Swaro with the glowing reports from Roger Vine and many others, for clear view and also for customer support and product manufacturing excellence, would give me some variety.

Sorry I haven't yet learnt to keep my writing short (and probably never will by now)!

Tom

Tom,

IMO you are overthinking this a little.

So you bring up Roger Vine. I too like his website and his reviews. I know he wears glasses(I believe even the same kind as me)so his comments on ER are important to me. I know we are coming from the same place where ER is concerned and if ER is a little on the short side for him, I know it will be for me as well. HOWEVER, let's remember where he is coming from in other areas. His interest is astronomy FIRST, everything else follows. What will be your main use for a binocular? For me it is birding FIRST, SECOND, THIRD, etc.

Field Pro vs. non-Field Pro SV- from what I can tell, no optical difference.

Your questions:

1. Steadiness vs. a 8X56 FL. Many things involve being able to hold a binocular steady. Lower magnifications appear more steady than higher magnifications, mentioned over and over. Fatigue. I can guarantee you towards the end of a birding trip I'll be able to hold a SV 10X42 more steady than I will a SV 10X50. I weighed my SV 10X42, SV 10X50, AND SLC 10X56. Weights are 853gm, 995gm, and 1208gm respectively.

2. 10X50 will appear more shaky than the 8X56 I'd say at all times

3. Glare/ghosting- Never notice it in either model on any birding trip

4. Color rendition- Same as SV 8X32.

5. 42 vs. 50 SV 10X comparison- I've had them both for over two years. I'm one inch from putting the 10X50s up for sale even though they are a fantastic binocular. Point is, so is the 10X42. In fact in no birding situation have I EVER needed the 10X50. Never has there been anything that the 10X50 would do that the 10X42 wouldn't in any birding situation. The 42mm IS smaller and lighter. That's something I notice and can appreciate. My SV 10X50 is literally NEVER used any more. NOW if I were more of an astronomer as Roger Vine is, I might lean more towards the 10X50.

6. SV 42mms 8.5X vs. 10X- No difference in hold but 10X will always appear not as steady. I really have no problem holding a 10X steady enough to ID a bird...if I haven't had to do a lot of walking I can hold a 12X steady enough.
 

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dries1

Member
I think the 10X50 SV is a better all around glass IMHO, larger FOV and to my eyes a more comfortable view, the only drawback for some is weight. I only have a few 10X42s, I use the 10x50 format more. ER is not an issue for me since I do not wear glasses. Decide what you want to use them for, +s and -s.

Andy W.
 

mwhogue

Registered User
Supporter
Shake verses Useable Image Quality

The effect of shake, specifically with a free-standing hands only hold, seems to be far more complex than what various psychological studies indicate
e.g. as in the graph from Daniel Vukobratovich’s 1989 article ‘Binocular Performance and Design’,

However, as the graph presents aggregated data from a number of individuals - an ‘average of averages’
- it does not necessarily follow that any particular individual will have such a predictable decline in efficiency


And that is my experience - my perceptions/ tolerances/ preferences are seemingly contradictory:

A) I have a very strong preference for 7x over 8x
I can discern as much fine detail at 7x as at 8x, and with greater ease
I’ve found this to be the case in directly comparing a variety of 7x and 8x models, including my Leica UV HD 7x42 and 8x42

B) In contrast I strongly prefer 12x over 10x!
I can see significantly more detail at 12x compared to 10x, without significantly greater difficulty in steadying the image
While I originally thought this was due to the balance and ergonomics of my EL SV 12x50, I’ve since bought a Nikon E 12x40 Porro
And in direct comparison with my Swarovski Habicht 10x40 Porro the situation is the same

Of course both 10x and 12x have significantly more shake than 8x,
but it seems that a point has been reached where the 20% increased magnification of the 12x balances out the extra shake compared to the 10x


It seems like my mind may be processing the visual data in two different ways
- or more likely, it's accepting that significantly different degrees of accomodation are necessary, to form the perceived image at the higher magnifications

A) With 7x vs 8x
There is a clear balance of a smaller calmer image of a subject verses a slightly larger image with more jitter
When I visually and mentally ‘bore down’ to see the limit of what can be resolved, I find that the 8x’s larger twitches between clear images, prevent greater effective resolution
i.e. the clear image does not persist long enough to allow the perception of greater detail (in contrast, when mounted on a tripod the 8x Leica is of course superior to the 7x one)

B) With 12x vs 10x
At this level of magnification, neither image is calm compared to 8x. There is significantly more shake, and presumedly significantly more active mental engagement in processing the images
However, it seems that by 10x a threshold has been reached, and the extra effort required at 12x is not obviously significant


. . . and of course in such matters we should expect that other’s perceptions will vary greatly from mine (as is indicated in various posts prior to this one regarding 10x verses 12x)

However, I find it interesting that my perceptions contradict the seemingly reassuring predictability of the published data
and in particular based on my experience with 7x to 10x binoculars, I would have never anticipated my experience at 12x

I'd be interested to know if others have a similar experience


John

John,

Yes my experience is similar to yours even though given the binoculars I own I can't do an exact apples to apples comparison.

Hand held, both my EDG and HD+ 7x42 show more detail than my SV 8x32 presumably because both 7x images are less shaky optically based largely on magnification rather than ergonomics. While subjective and imprecise, it seems because of the ergonomics I am able to hold the SV 8x32 physically steadier than either 7x. In other words, if i could hold all three equally steady my preference for the 7x would be even more pronounced.

But as in your experience, hand held, my SV 12x50 shows more detail than my HD+ 10x50 even though there is slightly more shake in the 12x image insofar as I am able to hold them.

Mike
 

Hermann

Well-known member
Hand held, both my EDG and HD+ 7x42 show more detail than my SV 8x32 presumably because both 7x images are less shaky optically based largely on magnification rather than ergonomics. While subjective and imprecise, it seems because of the ergonomics I am able to hold the SV 8x32 physically steadier than either 7x.

Yep. Ergonomics are important, very important. Often overlooked, not least by the manufacturers, but it's the ergonomics, the binoculars UI so to speak, that make a huge difference.

And to make things even more complicated: As long as the basic concept is sound (there are some binculars that are just plain horrible when it comes to ergonomics) and the weight is at least close to what one finds acceptable, it all depends on the individual user.

To give you one example: I personally find *slim* porros easier to hold steady than roofs with a similar weight. For instance, I can hold the Habicht 10x40 or the Nikon 10x42 SE steadier than, say, a Zeiss 10x42 FL or even a Zeiss 10x42 SF.

I also find the shape of the Swarovski 10x30 CL with its thumb indentations pretty awkward, especially when using the bins over a long period of time. I realize many folks will feel differently, but I probably won't take the CL on long trips where I expect to be using my bins for many hours at a time anymore. Done that, didn't like it.

But as in your experience, hand held, my SV 12x50 shows more detail than my HD+ 10x50 even though there is slightly more shake in the 12x image insofar as I am able to hold them.

I agree - provided you don't use the binoculars for extended periods of time (e.g. like scanning a mountain ridge for half an hour at a time) you'll get more detail. In fact, I sometimes had a chance to use a pair of Zeiss 15x60s many years ago, and I definitely did get more detail than with my 10x40 Dialyts. Even the huge and ungainly Zeiss 15x56 Conquest shows me more detail handheld than any of my 10x binoculars.

But I certainly wouldn't want to use it for more than a few minutes at a time. No way. I'd have to put it on a monopod at least.

Hermann
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
The Vukobratovich graph raises a number of interesting points

Limits and Trade-Offs
On the basis of the data, the maximum possible Hand-Held Resolution (HHR) peaks at around 6.6x, when using an 18x binocular

Conveniently we can compare the HHR to the actual binocular magnification in even steps:
[ 6.6x at 18x (with a 20% increase in binocular magnification compared to 15x) ]
- 6.5x at 15x (+ 25%)
- 6x at 12x (+ 20%)
- 5.5x by 10x (+ 25%)
- 5x at 8x (+ 14%)
- 4.5x at 7x (+ 17%)
- 4x at 6x

This raises the usual considerations in striking a balance when significantly increasing binocular magnification:
a) for a given objective size - and size and mass, the exit pupil size (particularly when expressed in terms of area) will significantly decrease, or
b) to maintain a constant exit pupil size, requires a significant increase in the objective size - and therefore overall size and mass

So to gain an 0.5 increase in the magnification of the HHR, while keeping the exit pupil size, is it worthwhile going from 8x32 to 10x40? Or from 10x40 to 12x50?
While I’m smitten by the performance of my EL SV 12x50, my Habicht 10x40 is just so much more convenient when out and about on foot


The IS Solution
If you must hand hold a binocular without any other support - and want higher resolution - IS technology is the only solution

Kimmo Absetz has reviewed both the 10x42 and 15x50 Canon models
(see here to access the English versions of his early reviews: https://www.birdforum.net/showpost.php?p=3816800&postcount=20 )
Kimmo found with both models, that when hand held and with the IS on, the resolution was at least 97% of that when tripod mounted with the IS off!
On that basis when considering the Vukobratovich graph, even an 8x IS unit should equal the hand held resolution of the best non-IS performance at 18x,
and a 10x IS unit should be significantly superior

Three examples of IS models with larger exit pupils, are:
- Canon 8x25, smallest and lightest 490 g/ 17.3 oz, cheapest, but potentially with performance and durability issues? (I couldn’t find any detailed reviews)
- Canon 10x32, upgraded features, but significantly larger and 780 g/ 27.5 oz, and more expensive
- Canon 10x42, 70% larger area to the exit pupil, proven image quality, but even larger and 1,030 g/ 36.3 oz, and most expensive

So for those contemplating the choice between a conventional 10x42 or 10x50 binocular there is always the third choice - the Canon 10x42 IS
It has 10x42 optics in a 10x50 size and weight package, with the advantage of a remarkably steadier image when hand held,
but with dependency on batteries and the potential fragility of electronics

However, there is another approach to increased stability


continued . . .
 
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John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Alternative Ways to Increase Stability

If you don’t have an IS binocular and want to maximise performance - using anything other than a free-standing hands only hold - is preferable
e.g. see the steep increase in performance in Vukobratovich’s graph when comparing Supported Efficency to Hand-Held Efficiency
- any significant move towards the former will pay big dividends

Being of essentially pre-digital origin, I have a strong preference for durable optical and mechanical solutions verses dependence on electronics and batteries
And where practicable, non-hardware solutions such as good technique are especially satisfying

In terms of applied technique, what will be useful will depend on the totality of the circumstances, including:
- the terrain and topography, climate and weather, season and time of day
- where the birds are in relation to you, and their activity
- local practices and your individual preferences
- your physical adaptability, and
- your personal inventiveness

What follows is a brief introduction to braced and rested positions, to help get more from your binoculars


Braced Positions
While there are a variety of braced positions, sitting is likely to be the most stable and adaptable
Particularly useful is the open leg version, with the addition of the back against a rest (such as a tree, boulder, fence or wall),
and depending on the needed elevation, the elbows should be either in front of the knees or on the thighs (but not wobbling on top of the knees)


Rested Positions
Rested positions are likely to be superior to braced ones, since use is made of additional environmental support
And they can be broadly divided between vertical and horizontal versions

- Vertical Rests
e.g. against a tree trunk, a pole or post, an end or opening to a fence or wall
Typically both the side of the binocular and the hand holding it is placed against the support
And if possible it helps to both rest the forearm against the support, and to slouch the hip and thigh against the support

While less secure than a horizontal rest, vertical rests have the dual advantages of typically being more numerous and more accomodating in terms of useable height

- - - -
- Combinations
Using either a vertical rest, or the modified squeegee I’ve previously described (a sort on ‘Mini Finn Stick’ see: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=369280 ),
makes a significant difference to steadiness even with my EL SV 12x50
Used together, the degree of steadiness is combined. With moderate power binoculars around 8x, the effect approaches that of a solid horizontal rest
- - - -

- Horizontal Rests
These are likely to provide the greatest effect, since the binocular can be placed on a stable object
e.g. on a tree limb, a fence rail, the top of a fence or wall, the roof of an automobile
Some padding (such as an item of folded clothing) may be needed to ensure that the binocular is both firmly positioned and at the appropriate angle of elevation

The main problem is that for a horizontal rest to be comfortable to use, it typically needs to be within narrow limits at the standing user's eye level
Though it may also be useable if it’s an appropriate height for use while sitting
e.g. in addition to some of the possibilities mentioned above, a binocular can be rested on the top of a full size back pack


Finally, you can bring your own rest with you - a tripod and head
But that typically involves: anticipation; a suitable carrier; carrying the tripod with you; unpacking, setting up and adjusting; shifting it if needed; taking down and repacking,
and; carrying it out - along with any other gear that you have with you
And in doing so, you should also avoid inconveniencing others
(also in the usual way, when selecting both a tripod and a head, there is the inevitable triangular trade-off between expense, stability and weight)

If you only need to travel a brief distance from your transport to a viewing site, a tripod carried over a shoulder may be the way to go
However, if you’re inclined to roam more freely, or don’t wish to be encumbered with extra gear, the more creative options may appeal


John
 
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Hermann

Well-known member
John:

Thank you, that's a very nice summary. Just a couple of additional points:

1. A Finnstick can be very useful to improve the handheld efficiency at magnifications between 7x and 12x because it reduces fatigue quite a lot. It doesn't work quite so well at higher magnfications. Especially for extended observations it helps a lot to keep the binoculars (relatively) steady.

2. When talking about stabilizers, don't forget the Zeiss 20x60S. I've got the 20x60S Mono (long out of production), and that works pretty well handheld. No batteries, no electronics at all.

3. The first study into the efficiency of different binoculars I know of is actually 75 years old: Brunnckow, K., E. Reeger & H.Siedentopf: Über die Leistung von Feldstechern im Tagessehen. Zeitschrift f. Instumentenkunde 64, 1944, p. 86-89. Well worth reading, even today.

Hermann
 

Patudo

Well-known member
I've had a fair trial of a 10x50 SV at Birdfair twice, though have only glanced through the 10x42 SV (but own a 10x40 and have tested other 10x42s quite a bit). With the proviso this is all totally subjective on my part...

So, here are the questions:
1. As the 50 is very similar in size to the 42 and about (100g) heavier, will it feel a lot lighter and easier to hold steady than my 8x56FL? I get the impression that 56 is where extra weight really comes into play.
2. As the 50 is a 10 power whilst the 56 is an 8 power, are they likely to feel similarly awkward in use i.e. shake will cancel out the slightly lighter weight?
3. Glare and ghosting: negligible in both 42 and 50 or better in 42?
4. Colour rendition: same as in EL8x32 SV i.e. bluish compared to Leica reddish and Zeiss greenish? (I know fans of each will call their marque 'neutral'!)
5. The more comparison you can give between 42 and 50 SV variants the better but hand-holding differences are probably the deal breaker, aside from money.
6. Is the 8.5x42 SV in fact any easier to hold than the 10? I ask this as I'm mainly a 7x user and have got very used to that as an all-round solution, but as mentioned in the other thread I am looking for a 10 as well, once I can find the near-perfect solution.

1. I find the 10x50 SV easier to handle than the 10x56 SLC - but most of the time when using that class of binoculars I can prop my elbows on something to steady the view, which greatly mitigates weight and bulk. If observing freehand the 10x50 would be distinctly easier to handle than the 10x56, and 10x42 even more so.

2. I find 10x is always a little more wobbly than 8x due to the higher magnification, but within my range of tolerance unless conditions are particularly difficult. The awkwardness of a x56 is not only in weight but bulk (big barrels!). This may be somewhat less of an issue if you're a big guy with large hands.

3. Don't have enough field experience with those binoculars in that situation to comment.

4. I've never looked through a 8x32 SV but the colour rendition of the 8.5x42, 10x42 and 10x50 all seem very similar. All are somewhat cooler than a Noctivid, but at the same time very clean and clear.

5. Hand holding is such an individual process that you'll need to decide on the hand holdability of the 10x42 vs the 10x50 yourself. I use a 10x40 for more general observation, at shorter distances (for me this means about 1.2km and closer) and if any kind of a trek is required, but prefer a 10x50 for more demanding viewing. When doing the latter, being able to brace my elbows and not having to move about much makes the weight/bulk of larger binoculars less of an issue, and greatly plays to their strengths in easier eye placement (which helps in making an image steadier), brightness, superior optical quality.

6. Yes - I find the 8.5x42 remarkably steady to hold. The long barrels allow a good grip and the easy eye placement, which I think derives from the combination of the 5mm exit pupil, 8.5x magnification and great edge sharpness working beautifully in concert, makes for a very steady view. It handles very much like a slightly larger 7x42 Dialyt and in all aspects feels worthy of inheriting the mantle of the great classics of the past.
 

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
Alternative Ways to Increase Stability

If you don’t have an IS binocular and want to maximise performance - using anything other than a free-standing hands only hold - is preferable
e.g. see the steep increase in performance in Vukobratovich’s graph when comparing Supported Efficency to Hand-Held Efficiency
- any significant move towards the former will pay big dividends

Being of essentially pre-digital origin, I have a strong preference for durable optical and mechanical solutions verses dependence on electronics and batteries
And where practicable, non-hardware solutions such as good technique are especially satisfying

In terms of applied technique, what will be useful will depend on the totality of the circumstances, including:
- the terrain and topography, climate and weather, season and time of day
- where the birds are in relation to you, and their activity
- local practices and your individual preferences
- your physical adaptability, and
- your personal inventiveness

What follows is a brief introduction to braced and rested positions, to help get more from your binoculars


Braced Positions
While there are a variety of braced positions, sitting is likely to be the most stable and adaptable
Particularly useful is the open leg version, with the addition of the back against a rest (such as a tree, boulder, fence or wall),
and depending on the needed elevation, the elbows should be either in front of the knees or on the thighs (but not wobbling on top of the knees)


Rested Positions
Rested positions are likely to be superior to braced ones, since use is made of additional environmental support
And they can be broadly divided between vertical and horizontal versions

- Vertical Rests
e.g. against a tree trunk, a pole or post, an end or opening to a fence or wall
Typically both the side of the binocular and the hand holding it is placed against the support
And if possible it helps to both rest the forearm against the support, and to slouch the hip and thigh against the support

While less secure than a horizontal rest, vertical rests have the dual advantages of typically being more numerous and more accomodating in terms of useable height

- - - -
- Combinations
Using either a vertical rest, or the modified squeegee I’ve previously described (a sort on ‘Mini Finn Stick’ see: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=369280 ),
makes a significant difference to steadiness even with my EL SV 12x50
Used together, the degree of steadiness is combined. With moderate power binoculars around 8x, the effect approaches that of a solid horizontal rest
- - - -

- Horizontal Rests
These are likely to provide the greatest effect, since the binocular can be placed on a stable object
e.g. on a tree limb, a fence rail, the top of a fence or wall, the roof of an automobile
Some padding (such as an item of folded clothing) may be needed to ensure that the binocular is both firmly positioned and at the appropriate angle of elevation

The main problem is that for a horizontal rest to be comfortable to use, it typically needs to be within narrow limits at the standing user's eye level
Though it may also be useable if it’s an appropriate height for use while sitting
e.g. in addition to some of the possibilities mentioned above, a binocular can be rested on the top of a full size back pack


Finally, you can bring your own rest with you - a tripod and head
But that typically involves: anticipation; a suitable carrier; carrying the tripod with you; unpacking, setting up and adjusting; shifting it if needed; taking down and repacking,
and; carrying it out - along with any other gear that you have with you
And in doing so, you should also avoid inconveniencing others
(also in the usual way, when selecting both a tripod and a head, there is the inevitable triangular trade-off between expense, stability and weight)

If you only need to travel a brief distance from your transport to a viewing site, a tripod carried over a shoulder may be the way to go
However, if you’re inclined to roam more freely, or don’t wish to be encumbered with extra gear, the more creative options may appeal


John

Thank you, John; this is great!

Tom
 

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
Alternative Ways to Increase Stability

If you don’t have an IS binocular and want to maximise performance - using anything other than a free-standing hands only hold - is preferable
e.g. see the steep increase in performance in Vukobratovich’s graph when comparing Supported Efficency to Hand-Held Efficiency
- any significant move towards the former will pay big dividends

Being of essentially pre-digital origin, I have a strong preference for durable optical and mechanical solutions verses dependence on electronics and batteries
And where practicable, non-hardware solutions such as good technique are especially satisfying

In terms of applied technique, what will be useful will depend on the totality of the circumstances, including:
- the terrain and topography, climate and weather, season and time of day
- where the birds are in relation to you, and their activity
- local practices and your individual preferences
- your physical adaptability, and
- your personal inventiveness

What follows is a brief introduction to braced and rested positions, to help get more from your binoculars


Braced Positions
While there are a variety of braced positions, sitting is likely to be the most stable and adaptable
Particularly useful is the open leg version, with the addition of the back against a rest (such as a tree, boulder, fence or wall),
and depending on the needed elevation, the elbows should be either in front of the knees or on the thighs (but not wobbling on top of the knees)


Rested Positions
Rested positions are likely to be superior to braced ones, since use is made of additional environmental support
And they can be broadly divided between vertical and horizontal versions

- Vertical Rests
e.g. against a tree trunk, a pole or post, an end or opening to a fence or wall
Typically both the side of the binocular and the hand holding it is placed against the support
And if possible it helps to both rest the forearm against the support, and to slouch the hip and thigh against the support

While less secure than a horizontal rest, vertical rests have the dual advantages of typically being more numerous and more accomodating in terms of useable height

- - - -
- Combinations
Using either a vertical rest, or the modified squeegee I’ve previously described (a sort on ‘Mini Finn Stick’ see: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=369280 ),
makes a significant difference to steadiness even with my EL SV 12x50
Used together, the degree of steadiness is combined. With moderate power binoculars around 8x, the effect approaches that of a solid horizontal rest
- - - -

- Horizontal Rests
These are likely to provide the greatest effect, since the binocular can be placed on a stable object
e.g. on a tree limb, a fence rail, the top of a fence or wall, the roof of an automobile
Some padding (such as an item of folded clothing) may be needed to ensure that the binocular is both firmly positioned and at the appropriate angle of elevation

The main problem is that for a horizontal rest to be comfortable to use, it typically needs to be within narrow limits at the standing user's eye level
Though it may also be useable if it’s an appropriate height for use while sitting
e.g. in addition to some of the possibilities mentioned above, a binocular can be rested on the top of a full size back pack


Finally, you can bring your own rest with you - a tripod and head
But that typically involves: anticipation; a suitable carrier; carrying the tripod with you; unpacking, setting up and adjusting; shifting it if needed; taking down and repacking,
and; carrying it out - along with any other gear that you have with you
And in doing so, you should also avoid inconveniencing others
(also in the usual way, when selecting both a tripod and a head, there is the inevitable triangular trade-off between expense, stability and weight)

If you only need to travel a brief distance from your transport to a viewing site, a tripod carried over a shoulder may be the way to go
However, if you’re inclined to roam more freely, or don’t wish to be encumbered with extra gear, the more creative options may appeal


John

John:

Thank you, that's a very nice summary. Just a couple of additional points:

1. A Finnstick can be very useful to improve the handheld efficiency at magnifications between 7x and 12x because it reduces fatigue quite a lot. It doesn't work quite so well at higher magnfications. Especially for extended observations it helps a lot to keep the binoculars (relatively) steady.

2. When talking about stabilizers, don't forget the Zeiss 20x60S. I've got the 20x60S Mono (long out of production), and that works pretty well handheld. No batteries, no electronics at all.

3. The first study into the efficiency of different binoculars I know of is actually 75 years old: Brunnckow, K., E. Reeger & H.Siedentopf: Über die Leistung von Feldstechern im Tagessehen. Zeitschrift f. Instumentenkunde 64, 1944, p. 86-89. Well worth reading, even today.

Hermann

Hermann,

Thank you; this is also great and it will be good practice for my German, which hasn't had any practice for a few years!

Tom
 

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
I've had a fair trial of a 10x50 SV at Birdfair twice, though have only glanced through the 10x42 SV (but own a 10x40 and have tested other 10x42s quite a bit). With the proviso this is all totally subjective on my part...



1. I find the 10x50 SV easier to handle than the 10x56 SLC - but most of the time when using that class of binoculars I can prop my elbows on something to steady the view, which greatly mitigates weight and bulk. If observing freehand the 10x50 would be distinctly easier to handle than the 10x56, and 10x42 even more so.

2. I find 10x is always a little more wobbly than 8x due to the higher magnification, but within my range of tolerance unless conditions are particularly difficult. The awkwardness of a x56 is not only in weight but bulk (big barrels!). This may be somewhat less of an issue if you're a big guy with large hands.

3. Don't have enough field experience with those binoculars in that situation to comment.

4. I've never looked through a 8x32 SV but the colour rendition of the 8.5x42, 10x42 and 10x50 all seem very similar. All are somewhat cooler than a Noctivid, but at the same time very clean and clear.

5. Hand holding is such an individual process that you'll need to decide on the hand holdability of the 10x42 vs the 10x50 yourself. I use a 10x40 for more general observation, at shorter distances (for me this means about 1.2km and closer) and if any kind of a trek is required, but prefer a 10x50 for more demanding viewing. When doing the latter, being able to brace my elbows and not having to move about much makes the weight/bulk of larger binoculars less of an issue, and greatly plays to their strengths in easier eye placement (which helps in making an image steadier), brightness, superior optical quality.

6. Yes - I find the 8.5x42 remarkably steady to hold. The long barrels allow a good grip and the easy eye placement, which I think derives from the combination of the 5mm exit pupil, 8.5x magnification and great edge sharpness working beautifully in concert, makes for a very steady view. It handles very much like a slightly larger 7x42 Dialyt and in all aspects feels worthy of inheriting the mantle of the great classics of the past.

Thank you and though qu.no.6 was really an afterthought, in some ways your response to that fired my imagination the most. The points about steadying/resting the larger size binoculars like 10x50 make a lot of sense and when I have a look at them I will remember to ask about various supports (apart from making use of what is out there in nature).

Tom
 

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
Thanks to all for your time and experience on the EL SV 10x42 vs. 10x50 question. There's been a lot of information posted and it's taken a good few reads to take it all in and remember. Today the chance came up to try both side by side, and also as an afterthought an NV 10x42. There was no Leica 10x50 UVHD available to compare, unfortunately, Andy. To be honest my mind was already made up by the time I got round to the NV and by then it was just a case of going through the motions.

First impression was I liked the 10x42 SV more than the 50 but after switching between the SVs a few times the 50 won with an easier view. The more I tried both the more the 50 pulled ahead. Both were the same but the 50 was better subjectively, instinctively. And no harder to hold steady, at least in the time available. Chuck was right about not overthinking it and Dennis and Andy about the larger glass. No 12x to try though and just as well as it wasn't what I was considering personally. One day, who knows...?

I took it home and had an hour with sunset in the middle to mull over and enjoy the effects, picking out details that weren't apparent to the naked eye including a surprise intruder in the form of a cat standing and staring stock, half hidden in the long grass in the field. Dennis's comment that 10x50SV is WAY easier to hold than an 8x56 held true. The detail in the creature was impressive despite the severely failing light. The limited depth of field added to the effect of sharp focus on the eyes and every hair on the face held sharp despite an unsupported grip.

Though not what I started out looking for, which was a light and portable 10x, this 50 seems set to be a strong favourite. Looking at plants the delicate detail and tiny insects on them were clear well after sunset. The colour of petals and blossom came up with pleasing sublety in the half light. Pink didn't seem to show any bluish tinge, suggesting that that sort of thing is only obvious to me when comparing another make side by side. Shake and arm fatigue did not feature to the extent of getting in the way; in fact I hardly thought about it, so the conclusion is that the 10x50SV is a well balanced glass suited to most times when a 10x magnification is called for. A day out hiking is likely to be the exception.

A big thank you to all for your responses. John Roberts, your detail must get a special mention and Andy and Dennis for your wide experience of many different binoculars, to mention just a few contributors. Chosun for nudging me ahead!

Icing on the cake was a free Collins Bird Guide 2nd edition and a dinky cleaning kit in a Swarovski green zip up pouch.

So: 8x32 - 7x42 - 10x50 drawn variously from L, N, now S, and Z. I think that covers it with some 3D and some flat field and a variety in the colour palette. 32 for unstructured days out hiking just to see what turns up, 7x for wide view birding in the woods and close spaces, 10x for the joy of detail. (The 8x42 could be redundant but I'll spare it as a 95% transmission AK HT is a development high point that possibly won't be seen again from manufacturers and it's a joy to use on bright days and dim alike.)

Afterthought: Chuck, I took on board what you said about 42 being enough for all birding situations and about Roger Vine's choice coming from the point of view of an astronomer. I went for the 50 because it just felt an easier, better view. Time will tell when out in the field.
 
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